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I had wanted to buy a carpet washer for quite some time, but was put off by a friend who had bought one and said it was rubbish and not to waste my money. I was curious though, as to why the prices of these things varied quite a lot. My friend had bought one of the cheaper carpet washers, but I noticed it was possible to pay three times as much as this. Therefore I still wondered if it was maybe a case of 'you get what you pay for' and whether or not buying a more expensive model would prove to be the better option to find an effective carpet washer.
Vax Rapide Ultra W90-RU-P Carpet Washer
Priced at £179.99 on Amazon, the Vax Rapide Ultra W90-RU-P Carpet Washer is not the most expensive model available, but it also not the cheapest and I would expect that when shelling out nearly two hundred pounds for a carpet washer, it should not be rubbish. It wasn't easy deciding which model to choose, but I settled upon this model based upon the features and price. The product description promised an easy to use and versatile upright machine, which washes your carpets, removes stains and sucks up spills.
Product Features :-
Washes carpets and upholstery and also sucks up spills
Pre Treatment kit allows you to treat high traffic areas and stubborn stains before you wash for a deeper clean.
Dual V Technology means your carpets will dry quicker
Rotating brushbar agitates carpet pile to lift embedded dirt
Wash tool refreshes and cleans stairs, upholstery, car interiors etc.
The carpet washer arrived packed in a large box, which was also quite heavy. On unpacking, it didn't seem like there was much to assemble thankfully. It was just a case of attaching the handle, which was easy enough as it clicks into place with a locking pin. Written instructions as well as diagrams are provided to guide you through this process which takes only a few seconds. The only other thing that needed to be assembled was the pre-treatment kit. Again this was a simple process of attaching the wand to the handle and wrapping the tube around the holder for storage as shown on the diagrams, but to be honest, when looking at the machine itself it is apparent where these are meant to go and how they fit. I just referred to the instructions to ensure I had indeed assembled it correctly.
Once assembled and ready to go, the machine looked solid and good quality.
Using the carpet washer
This was the part I wasn't initially looking forward to, as there were four pages of diagrams and instructions in the booklet and I am the type of person who is easily put off when faced with a load of instructions. I decided to just start at the beginning and follow the instructions, hoping that it would prove to be easier than it looked. Thankfully, it was.
Included with the machine is a bottle of Vax Ultra Solution and also a bottle of pre-treatment solution. The first step was to pour some of the pre-treatment solution into a jug and dilute with warm water, before pouring into the clean water tank which is located at the front of the machine. The tank is easy to remove and I began to pour in the solution. This is where I found the first and only fault with this machine. There is a rubber cap on the bottom of the tank and when I began pouring the solution into the top of the tank, some of it began leaking out of the bottom as the rubber cap does not seem to fit securely. The best solution was to get my partner to hold the tank and keep a hand over the cap at the bottom, keeping it more securely in place, whilst I poured the solution in the top. We kept a hand over the rubber cap whilst carrying the tank back to the machine, although you have to remove your hand to slot the tank back in place and a little of the solution leaked out whilst doing this.
After attaching the tubing from the pre-treatment wand to the front of the machine as indicated on the diagram, I removed the wand from the handle and turned on the machine, which is no noisier than your average hoover. You then walk around with the wand in your hand and press the button to release a spray of solution onto your carpets or upholstery. You don't have to pre-treat your carpets or upholstery but you are advised to do so if you have any stubborn stains. I used it because I was washing my carpets for the first time and also there were a couple of stains which I had not been able to remove via other means.
The pre-treatment solution has to be left to work for 10-15 mins before you begin to wash your carpets using the other solution provided. After removing the wand and attaching it back on the handle, I began filling the tank once more, but this time using the cleaning solution, which again you dilute with warm water. Once again the solution was leaking out of the bottom of the tank, unless you hold the rubber cap in place.
Washing the carpet was similar to using an upright hoover. There is a trigger on the handle which you press to release the solution and this is best done whilst you are pushing the machine forward over the carpet. You then release the trigger and pull the machine back towards you. The solution is recovered from your carpet on this backward stroke, along with the dirt! Pulling the machine backwards is also what enables it to suck up spills. If using the onboard tools to clean upholstery then the same principle applies : apply the solution on the forward stroke and suck it up on the backward stroke.
I was hoping that I would see a difference to my carpets, but was still a little sceptical. As I began washing the carpet however, I could see the difference right away. I had not realised my carpet was so dirty! The solution which was being sucked back up into the dirty water tank at the bottom of the machine was filthy. I felt ashamed at just how much dirt was being lifted from my carpet. I have patio doors which lead out onto the patio and garden and even though we always wipe our feet, I suppose the walking in and out has led to the carpet becoming dirty over time. It wasn't really noticeable as my carpet is dark, but as I was washing it, the colour of the carpet was restored to what it was when new and I realised just how dull looking it had became.
Washing the carpet meant I had to re-fill the tank with solution a couple of times and also empty the dirty water tank, where once again I was amazed at just how dirty the water was. I didn't need to use it on upholstery as I have leather sofa's, but I did use the tools on the stairs and once again the results were effective.
What amazed me even more was that the two stains had also disappeared and I had tried previously on numerous occasions to remove these by hand. The solution provided did a great job and although I have plenty of the pre-treatment solution left, I will have to purchase some more of the cleaning solution before using the machine again. I have seen this for sale on Amazon and whilst it is quite pricey, the results are worth the money.
Do I recommend the Vax Rapide Ultra W90-RU-P Carpet Washer?
In a word, yes.
Although the rubber cap on the bottom of the clean water tank not holding the solution very well when I am filling it is a pain. I can cope with this as I will just ensure my partner is on hand when I use it. However, I appreciate that this would cause more of a problem to someone who has no help available. Apart from this however, I can find no fault with my machine. It is easy to use and although the machine is heavy, it feels lightweight when you are washing the carpet. The pushing and pulling action required takes no strength at all as it glides easily over the carpet and also has a lengthy cable. I found I didn't have to change sockets at all whilst washing the downstairs carpets.
The difference it has made to my carpets has amazed me. Prior to using this I was considering new carpets, but now I know I can hang onto them a while longer.